One of the passions that drives colleague Wanda Sanchez and me in our work with PTSDPerspectives.org is our desire to help eradicate the massive misunderstanding about mental illness and PTSD in our nation. We launched our blog and our consulting in an effort to help people understand what PTSD is and what it is not.
Recently, conservative radio host Michael Savage made a series of remarks about Americans with mental illness and the medical community that works to help them. The host announced that he is “sick and tired of everyone with their complaints about PTSD and depression,” stating that it’s a sign of a “weak, sick, broken nation.”
Savage recommended that people with PTSD “focus on the good things in your life.” Savage says he has “no sympathy for suicides” and sees them as “an act of cowardliness” and “aggression.”
Having just spent my weekend working with a group of women struggling with PTSD and its various symptoms, I found Savage’s comments particularly offensive in an manner that can only indicate ignorance of the issue or an unwillingness to learn.
Furthermore, Savage calls veterans who seek help for PTSD, “weak and narcissistic.” During his broadcast, he went on to attack those in the U.S. military who suffer with PTSD.
My point is not so much with Michael Savage as an individual, but with the fact that his ignorance represents the attitude of an alarming segment of the population that does not understand the biological, chemical, and scientific facts about PTSD.
In her blog The Junk Science Behind Michael Savage’s Attacks on Military with PTSD, Lisa Reed presents the simple biology behind PTSD:
I recommend you read Reed’s entire article for a more complete explanation of military efforts to assist those in their ranks who has suffered with PTSD.
PTSD affects more than 5.2 million Americans. Approximately 10% of women will struggle with PTSD in her lifetime. Twenty-five percent of those who experience heart attacks will experience PTSD. For cities like Atlanta, Chicago, New York, and Washington, DC, areas of the inner city are experiencing higher rates of PTSD than for members of the military returning from Afghanistan.
Denying the reality of brain illness is like trying to deny the reality of germs because you don’t want to believe they exist. Your opinion, Mr. Savage, is archaic and inconsistent with the science of the brain. Unfortunately, it is also dangerous because it encourages people to put their health at risk by ignoring real illness with real symptoms based on real biology and chemistry.
As individuals who invest our lives helping people understand the truth about trauma and seek wellness, we are disappointed by Michael Savage’s lack of compassion and basic understanding of health issues. Shame on you for perpetuating outdated and biased medical myths.
And shame on you for attacking the men and women of our military who fought for your freedom to spew ignorance on the airwaves.